Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber claimed on Capitol Hill this week that he did not write whole parts of Obamacare. Nonsense.
Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis grilled Gruber at Tuesday’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. Lummis brought up past statements Gruber made identifying himself as a co-writer of Obamacare and saying that he wrote entire sections of it. Gruber denied his prime writing role and stonewalled on key questions about his participation in designing the law. (RELATED: Gruber Lawyers Up)
The Jonathan Gruber of the Oversight hearing was contrite, bumbling, and glibly apologetic — just a doddering little academic that got himself caught up in big, bad Washington politics.
But Jonathan Gruber was, indeed, the “brains” behind the key parts of Obamacare. He was the Aaron Sorkin to this legislative “Newsroom,” the Mario Puzo to this “Godfather Part III,” the Ringo Starr to this Ringo Starr solo album. Here’s how we know:
1. He bragged to his students on video that he wrote Obamacare
Much like the loathsome pot-smoking professor in “Animal House” who plays the guitar for his young female students, Jonathan Gruber has a need to impress. In a lecture captured on video, he admitted that he “helped write” Obamacare. He was telling the truth.
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2. He came up with the law’s “Cadillac tax” in an Oval Office meeting with President Obama
Gruber personally met with Obama in the Oval Office to develop the law’s “Cadillac tax” in an intentionally deceptive way. Having come up with a major portion of the law, Gruber’s testimony that he did not write any major sections of Obamacare rings false.
3. He convinced Obama to create the individual and employer mandates
That was a pretty major part of the health-care law. “Mr. Mandate” Gruber did this beginning in his role as a member of President-elect Obama’s transition team in 2008. The New York Times even said so. (RELATED: Gruber Convinced Obama To Create Mandates).
4. Obama was stealing ideas from Gruber as early as 2006
Why did Obama say in a 2006 speech captured on video that he stole ideas liberally from Gruber? He needed to. At that point, Gruber, who worked on the Massachusetts model for national health-care reform, was way more important and influential than Obama in the Democratic Party’s health-care push. The next Democratic president was going to be tasked with health-care reform. Then-Senator Obama needed to get in with the right folks early.
5. Gruber was slated to write the health-care law before it ever became known as “Obamacare”
In other words, he still would have been the architect of the law if Hillary Clinton or John Edwards had won the presidency in 2008. When the influential Gruber-linked health-care advocacy group the Herndon Alliance went to all three Democratic candidates in that election, it got Obama, Clinton and Edwards to sign up to endorse more or less the same exact plan. The Herndon Alliance formed out of Ted Kennedy’s years-long health care reform push, which started in Massachusetts with the Gruber-designed Romneycare law. If anything, the group favored Clinton over Obama.
As The New York Times’ Paul Krugman wrote during the 2008 primary, Clinton was better suited to write the health reform bill than Obama. Whose analysis did Krugman cite in making that determination? Jonathan Gruber’s. Make no mistake. The health-care law never needed Barack Obama. But it always involved Jonathan Gruber.
6. Gruber’s speaker bio was pretty clear that he “helped craft” the law
The professor spoke at a June 27 panel sponsored by the Alliance for Health Reform and The Commonwealth Fund, and bragged about his work with the Obama administration and Congress.